4 Things That Make for a Poor Candidate Experience


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Recruiters are often reminded about the importance of providing a great candidate experience throughout the hiring process, but what exactly separates a good candidate experience from a bad one? A less than satisfactory candidate experience can prevent you from attracting top talent. That's why we were really pleased to receive this guest post from Andre Lavoie, CEO of , with advice on what contributes to a poor candidate experience and what you can do in order to resolve it.


A positive candidate experience can do wonders for your talent brand. That is, how talent views and socially brands your company. In fact, CareerBuilder’s 2013 Candidate Behavior Study found that 64 percent of job candidates will tell others about a good experience. However, 50 percent of candidates are just as likely to tell others about a less-than-stellar experience.

While word-of-mouth is a tried-and-true way to attract top talent, it can just as easily dissuade talent from working with your company. All the more reason to make sure that you’ve created a top-notch candidate experience worth talking about (in the best way).

If the buzz around your employer brand isn’t what you want it to be, it might be because of a lousy candidate experience. Here are four ways you might not know you’re contributing to a poor candidate experience and how to fix it:

1. You’re making a bad first impression

First impressions are everything -- especially when it comes to winning the competition for top talent. Where job candidates are concerned, that first impression starts with a click.

Your company career site or job posting serves as the candidate’s first look into your company’s culture and the available position. Not being able to easily navigate from the home site to the career site, not having a career site, broken links, run-of-the-mill job descriptions, and lengthy application processes can all lead to a negative candidate experience.

As a matter of fact, a recent Software Advice survey found that unclear application instructions are the primary cause of a bad candidate experience, cited by 93 percent of job seekers.

Your job posting, company career site, and application process are your candidates’ first experience with your organization, so creating an attractive, simple process is essential to hooking the candidates you seek.

2. You’re not catering to candidate lifestyles

As the times change and technology advances to become a more prominent part of our lives, so must our efforts to cater to job seekers. For employers, that means having a company career site that isn’t just mobile-friendly, but mobile-optimized. Candidates should be able to easily navigate your company site without having to scroll excessively or zoom-in to read.

Additionally, with 45 percent of job seekers expecting to be able to apply for a job from their mobile device, according to LinkedIn’s survey of 800 professionals and over 13,000 recruiters, you might want to consider simplifying your application process for mobile.

Catering to the tech-savvy Millennial workforce also applies to the interview process. This is where video interviewing comes into play. Offering candidates the option to participate in video interview during the initial screening or actual interview process is not only innovative, but convenient. And a convenient candidate experience is a positive one.      

3. You’re not keeping candidates in the loop

While keeping every candidate informed on the status of their application or their position in the hiring process might not be at the top of your to-do list, knowing where they stand is a priority for candidates.

With only 15 percent of candidates saying companies are responsive throughout the hiring process, according to the aforementioned CareerBuilder survey, it’s no wonder so many candidates insist on following-up multiple times a week (or day) -- and we all know how bothersome that can get.

Unfortunately for companies, not keeping candidates in the loop can reflect poorly on the employer brand. Especially when you consider that more than one-third (34 percent) of job seekers say that more communication during the hiring process would improve their candidate experience, according to the Software Advice survey.

Remember that you’re likely not the only one candidates are interviewing with, so keeping them informed throughout the process is essential, lest they move on entirely. Simply replying to follow-up emails or shooting candidates a quick update can make a world of difference, by showing you respect their time.

4. You’re not asking for feedback

How can you be sure that your employer brand and talent brand are one in the same? In other words, how can know for certain that you’ve created a candidate experience that resonates well with your brand?

Ask the candidate.

Invite candidates to offer feedback once the hiring process is over. What did they like best or least about the process? What would they have liked to see done differently? This insight can help you better tailor your overall hiring process to suit the needs and desires of today’s job seekers.    


Andre Lavoie is the CEO of ClearCompany, the first talent alignment platform that bridges the gap between talent management and business strategy by contextualizing employees’ work around a company’s vision and goals. You can connect with him and the ClearCompany team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.


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